We had a wonderful Christmas at Nalle's House. Both Tech Guy and I grew up celebrating Christmas the Finnish way on Christmas Eve. We wanted to continue this tradition with our family at our own house. I always had the best Christmases as a child when I celebrated them at my own home. We had a few guests for Christmas as well: Mummu, Pappa and my cousin from Finland.
Our night started with dinner. We have really found a menu that everyone loves and have stuck to it for a few years now. We had rolled turkey breast with fennel herb stuffing, cranberry, grapefruit and cherry chutney, butternut squash crumble, green beans with fried shiitake mushrooms, date and walnut salad and cheddar biscuits with sage. Our table setting was super simple. We brought out all the vintage Iittala glass that looked like ice from both Mummu's and my collection. I also dressed the table with some Marimekko lumimarja table runners that I stitched up a couple of Christmases ago and some evergreen branches.
Little Pilot got to sit at the head of the table, but of course!
After dinner we read the Christmas story from the Bible in English as no one was brave enough to tackle the Finn version as well. We'll make it a goal to read both languages next year though. :)
Right after our Christmas story we started opening gifts with Little Pilot. We started early so that he would have enough energy to open the gifts before it got too late and time for bed. Here's a look at our tree with all the gifts underneath (most of them for Little Pilot :) ).
I think Little Pilot really surprised us all with his gift opening skills. Here's a little sequence of him opening up one of his presents (please don't mind that some of the pics are with flash and some are without).
I love that he got right into it: crawling over the box and tearing at the paper! In the last pic Little Pilot is re-sticking the name tag to the box after he got it open. I think the wrapping and all that sticky tape was just as fun as the gifts inside. :)
Don't get me wrong. Little Pilot loved the toys he received. He actually helped drag this one out of the closet (Little Pilot had noticed our little hiding place before, but luckily can't reach door handles yet). He opened it first.
It's one of those wooden toy cubes with lots of different things to do (beads, doors, etc).
He also got this rocking
horse motorcycle that we picked up at a yard sale in the summer. Tech Guy worked hard to fix it up in time for Christmas.
After the gifts were mostly opened (Little Pilot didn't have the energy to open all those gifts at once), we had our coffee and dessert. I, in present-opening overload, completely forgot to take pictures of the cake. I made this candy cane white chocolate cheesecake (slightly modified). My cousin is a big fan of cheesecake and she thought (as did I) that this one was delish!
We also had an assortment of cookies: sugar cookies (posted about here), ginger chocolate cookies, joulu torttuja (my grandma's recipe, I think) and 's' cookies (my great grandmother's recipe and 's' just happens to be Little Pilot's first initial). So a nice assortment of Finnish and American cookies.
That was it for our dessert aside from the obligatory Finnish Fazer chocolate.
I can't believe how much Christmas changes when you have a little one. I think your heart is already bursting from just being a mom and when you see how excited and happy Little Pilot was on Christmas your filled beyond measure. I am so glad that we can share the true meaning of Christmas with our son and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I pray that Little Pilot you will continue to learn how much Jesus loves you!